FRAZIER: Let The Great Unmasking commence

Published 4:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2022

COVID-19 has consumed our lives for the past two years, and it finally looks like there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

This week, the mask mandate expired for the Vicksburg Warren School District, meaning those who do not want to wear a mask anymore do not have to.

My two grandsons are students in the district and have been extremely compliant with the masking guidelines. Therefore, knowing they could now go “maskless,” I asked my daughter if they were excited.

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Neither seemed to have really cared one way or the other, she said. Wearing a mask had just become part of their everyday life.

In fact, my daughter reminded me, her youngest, whom she had repeat kindergarten because of his late-August birthday, will for the first time since he started school, not have to wear a mask.

Wow — how crazy is it to think about the millions of young students who have not a day in their life gone to school without wearing a mask? I wondered if it may be fearful for them, not just because it has been drilled into their tiny brains that they could get sick or get someone else sick if they don’t wear them, but also because unmasking is revealing.

I know there were times when I was content to hide behind my mask — I even joked it was nice to be free of wearing lipstick.

But kidding aside, masks worked well to conceal what was going on inside.

If it had been a bad day and I was just not in the mood to put on a smile, I didn’t have to mask my feelings and pretend all was good with the world.

By wearing a face-covering, no one was the wiser.

However, on the flip side, expressions of happiness were hidden, too. I sometimes questioned if folks could tell if I was smiling from the lines that appeared around my eyes.

Masks — for better or worse, I think, did help protect us from the virus. As to how long we should have continued to wear them, well, I am no scientist.

However, I will never forget those in our community, who feverishly and unselfishly made hundreds of masks for our first responders when face coverings were all we knew to do to protect us from getting the virus.

Think back to how our community came together and folks wanted to help others. It was like masks were the fabric that knit us together.

Thankfully, we are now at a place where we can start showing our faces. And so can the children.

Like my grandson, they will have the opportunity to experience a teacher’s smile or a classmate’s expressions.

No longer will the grins, goofy faces and yeah, maybe even the grumpy ones, be hidden.

This COVID cover-up, and now thankfully the uncovering, reminded me of a song I learned when I was a Girl Scout Brownie.

It goes like this: “I’ve got something in my pocket. It belongs across my face. I keep it very close at hand in a most convenient place. I’m sure you couldn’t guess it if you guessed a long, long while. So, I’ll take it out and put it on, it’s a Great Big Brownie Smile!”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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